Power Rankings for IZW Superstars
by Drew Archer
On February 16, 2013, the world of Impact Zone Wrestling (IZW) was tossed on its head. Violent Valentine was anchored by 3 championship matches. 3 titles were on the line and 3 new champions were crowned. In the chaos and aftermath, one thing is clear…IZW is always evolving. If you’re looking to keep the status quo and tread water, then you will be eaten alive in the shark tank that is the Impact Arena. IZW has provided opportunities for wrestlers on the Independent scene to either make or break their careers. A weekly television series, broadcast live every Saturday night at 8pm EST and available on multiple platforms via GFL.tv on a global scale, a monthly 2-hour show on The Comcast Network (TCN) and Comcast SportsNet (CSN) reaching an audience of over 22 million homes and now IZW’s coup de grace to all other Independent, regional promotions, IZW Adrenaline, a one-hour, bi-weekly television series on CSN that is set to reach millions and millions of households scattered across the country starting in March.
With the IZW brand and footprint continuing to increase and expand the opportunities for wrestlers on its roster, this article will serve as the first of an unofficial power ranking for some of the more noteworthy wrestlers. This article is definitely not a be-all and end-all, but more a jumping off point for discussion. Fans are welcome to add their opinions, through social media comments, while also supporting their IZW Superstar by tuning into GFL.tv every Saturday night and watching IZW Adrenaline every other week on Comcast. Without further ado, here’s PART 1 of the TOP 10 IN IZW covering 1-5. PART 2 covering 6-10 will follow in the weeks to come.
1. IZW Champion, The Convict
What more can you say about a man then he holds the most prestigious title in his company and a territory that covers the vast region of the Southwest and Central States? If you are talking about The Convict, then you can say a lot. The Convict has a shady past to be sure, serving years in various prisons across the country for committing multiple, violent acts. Once The Convict got released from his latest stint in Oklahoma, he wasted little time in making a name for himself in IZW, while gaining a reputation as a man that seemingly has no weak spots. The Convict has only been knocked down a few times in his entire wrestling career and to make matters worse on his opponents, his recuperative power is second to none as he doesn’t stay down for long. No matter what or who you throw at The Convict, it’s hard to keep this man down. The Convict became IZW Champion less than month ago, and it will be telling to see now that the shiny, hot lights are focused squarely on the man of mystery will he thrive or wilt under the spotlight? It’s one thing to be a world-beater and be so much more physically superior to everyone else as you climb the ranks. But what happens when get to the top and you are stuck in the pressure cooker with a giant bullseye on your chest as the world’s most elite wrestlers are gunning for your spot?
2. Double D
When talking about thriving in the midst of adversity, that sums up the history and legacy of Double D. The biggest threat to The Convict’s title run is none other than the man that previously held the title. The Captain of the Force has proven time and time again that nobody in wrestling has a bigger heart. D has long been one of the most beloved wrestlers in the Oklahoma territory and now worldwide thanks to the exposure IZW has been able to garner over the past two years. Long and lean, Double D uses his body as a weapon dropping sharp knees and flying through the air like no one in IZW’s history. But what separates D from his peers is his one-track mind surrounded by enough grit and determination to accomplish anything he sets his mind to. Even if the odds seemed stacked against him, Double D has never and will never back down from a challenge in the ring. Whether it’s running former NWA World Champion and WWE and ROH veteran “Shooter” Brent Albright out of IZW after a hellish beating in a No Holds Barred/No Disqualification Match, or bringing the fight to his current foe, The Convict, Double D is a modern day gladiator cut from the same cloth as Spartacus who will fight anyone at any time.
3. Impact Division Champion, Damien Morte
Few people in history have used their body more effectively as a weapon than the reigning Impact Division Champion. A monster lurking in the shadows, Damien Morte is a one-of-a-kind sociopath and a sadist in the strongest terms. Inflicting pain on others is his primary goal and if he has to use his own body as a means to that end, he will do so each and every time. Injuries are just another day at the office for this human crash test dummy. It’s not just talk and hyperbole with Morte. He’s broken a collar bone, broken fingers, had surgery on his right shoulder, dislocated his arm and had dozens of concussions all in the name of the sport he is driven to compete and excel in. But it’s all been worth it as Morte proved that he is “Impact” while carrying the visual evidence of that fact in the form of the Impact Division Title for all to see. Even more amazing then Morte’s title run as Impact Division Champion, is that he will literally risk his life to retain his title. Morte has several of the more jaw-dropping moments in wrestling history including jumping from the top of a mezzanine into a Senton Bomb while crashing through a pair of tables onto his opponent in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. What kind of damage can you inflict on a man who doesn’t even care about his own well-being? That is the question opponents of Damien Morte have to answer for themselves.
4. Jermaine Johnson
Johnson is quite simply the total package; an expert grappler, tremendous showman and all-around athlete. Johnson’s future is almost limitless as recently shown by his tryout with WWE and one of several IZW competitors who was involved in the TNA Gut Check program. With a combination of raw potential mixed with hard work, they sky is the limit for Johnson. Up until very recently, nobody in IZW could touch Johnson in Specialty Matches, including an Impact Rules Match, Steel Cage Match, TLC Match, Impact X Match, or any other type of twisted, special-rules contest. Johnson is one of only two men in history to be an IZW Triple Crown Winner. Yet recently The Leader of the Hype Section has lost his crown as the Impact Division Champion and has found himself in an all-out dog fight with Damien Morte. Johnson has never shied away from competition and his win/loss record against a who’s who of IZW’s finest proves that if you’re looking for a fight, you better bring your A+ game when squaring off against Johnson. Johnson seems best suited for another run at the IZW Championship sooner than later which is currently center stage in a deadly feud between The Convict and Double D.
5. “The Bronze Bull” Aaron Neil
Nobody in IZW history has built a more meaningful legacy inside the ring than Neil. Neil has passed through tons of territories in his storied career, from Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and even Japan. But it is his time in Oklahoma, specifically IZW, where Neil has grown into a living legend. A 6-time IZW Champion, with his first IZW Title run in 2005 and his most recent title run in 2012, Neil has been a key figure in IZW since its humble beginnings as a startup promotion to its current contributions to the sport where the organization now has broadcast deals on multiple platforms and is available to millions of people across the globe. Neil has conquered a host of talented wrestlers inside an IZW ring ranging from Hall of Famers like Big Van Vader and Dusty Rhodes to the rising Superstars of today like Double D and Jermaine Johnson. Neil has over a decade of experience in one of the most physically grueling professions in the world, yet he is as good today as he’s ever been. Fans can question some of his personal decisions inside of the ring, but no one can question Neil’s results. Neil is the measuring stick for every wrestler that steps foot into IZW and no other person has done more for the company inside the squared circle than “The Bronze Bull”.